There are no chapters in this story as the whole is made up of each female character’s separate story. It is cleverly crafted in how at first we read about the present interspersed with the past – we are finding out where they are today and what has happened in the past to lead them there. Then the stories eventually come together in the present time and lead on where the other character finishes. I loved this as it kept me interested and wanting to read on.
I empathised with Anna and Toby – with how they felt and their conflicting emotions - but felt I never actually got to know them and their characters were a bit wishy-washy. For me, Rachel, Clare and Ella were much stronger characters and their stories carried the suspense that led me through to the end.
Ella’s story at first feels like a stand-alone read (although she has a very significant part to play in the past) until she becomes a part of Clare’s story. Ella definitely adds an extra dimension to their lives and is the conflict and negative influence all good stories need! She is also the one who grows the most on an inner level and starts to find a resolution through crises. I think the ‘poetic license’ used that changes Ella inheritance from that which in ‘real life’ and therefore is lawful, fits in really well with where Ella’s story is heading at that time.
I loved the way RSVP was also written in to Clare and James’ relationship so it is not only relevant to the wedding – a very clever idea to include it on the note Clare receives from James!
The one thing I did find annoying was a couple of repetitions where we were told something later on in the book that had already been presented to us earlier on. For example Anna’s parents separation and her brother living in Australia. Perhaps it was thought the reader might have forgotten and might be useful for some readers but it wasn’t for me.
I found RSVP easy to read and enjoyed the way the stories intertwined with each other. Despite my predictions being correct I still found the story exciting not only because of the way the separate stories are told but also the way Helen Walker shows us again and again that the outside veneer, the way we present ourselves to the world, is often very different from how we are feeling inside.